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THE    CHINESE    PEOPLE                    35

you look at the sky, it is not big enough. With my unfettered
nature, I do not like it. Only a hundred steps north from this
house, there is the Parrot Bridge, and another thirty steps
from the Bridge is the Plum Tower, with vacant spaces all
around. When I was drinking in this Tower in my young
days, I used to look out and see the willow banks and the little
wooden bridge with decrepit huts and wild flowers against a
background of old city walls, and was quite fascinated by it.
If you could get fifty thousand cash, you could buy a big lot
for me to build my cottage there for my latter days. My
intention is to build an earthen wall around it, and plant lots
of bamboos and flowers and trees. I am going to have a
garden path of paved pebbles leading from the gate to the
house door. There will be two rooms, one for the parlour,
one for the study, where I can keep books, paintings, brushes,
ink-slabs, wine-kettle and tea service, and where I can discuss
poetry and literature with some good friends and the younger
generation. Behind this will be the family living-rooms,
with three main rooms, two kitchens and one servants3 room.
Altogether there will be eight rooms, all covered with grass-
sheds, and I shall be quite content. Early in the morning
before sunrise, I could look east and see the red glow of the
morning clouds, and at sunset, the sun will shine from behind
the trees. When one stands upon a high place in the court-
yard, one can already see the bridge and the clouds and
waters in the distance, and when giving a party at night,
one can see the lights of the neighbours outside the wall.
This will be only thirty steps to your house on the south, and
will be separated from the little garden on the east by a small
creek. So it is quite ideal. Some may say, "This is indeed
very comfortable, only there may be burglars." They do
not know that burglars are also but poor people. I would
open the door and invite them to come in, and discuss with
them what they may share. Whatever there is, they can take
away, and if nothing will really suit them, they may even
take away the great Wang Hsienchih's old capret to pawn it
for a hundred cash. Please, my younger brother, bear this in
mind, for this is your stupid brother's provision for spending
ahappyoldage. I wonder whether I may have what I so desire.